Go figure

January begins with the best of intentions, but if reality is biting you on the bottom and your three-times-a-week gym resolution is fading fast, cheat!

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 19th January 2014, 6:00 am
Dorothy Perkins panel bodycon dress, £20 (www.dorothyperkins.com)
Dorothy Perkins panel bodycon dress, £20 (www.dorothyperkins.com)

If you’re not much of a long distance runner, fashion has all manner of figure-fixing shortcuts. From illusion dresses to leg-lengthening trousers, you can pretty much dress to create the figure of your dreams.

“Panel dresses are great for ladies whose hot spot is their hips, while jeans and skirts with tummy control hold in stomachs for a streamlined silhouette,” says Della Nelson, head of womenswear design at Isme, who recently launched a Confident Curves Collection.

Time to banish body bugbears with clothes that instantly flatter your figure.

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Contrast dress, £185; Vera Mont (www.veramont.co.uk)


For many, the midriff is the place where post-festive excess decides to settle. But the muffin top can be camouflaged with some clever construction. Look for dresses, skirts and even jeans with in-built control panels that suck you in for a bulge-free effect.

“Brands have discovered the joys of Lycra,” says Veronique Henderson, author of Colour Me Slimmer.

“Not only does it give ease in a fabric, but in its heavier form, it can also help to keep extra kilos under control.”

Wearing patterns across the midriff area can also help disguise any unwanted fullness.


Beyonce is living proof that a curvy bottom is beyond sexy, but if you’d describe yours as ‘squidgy and oversized’, dressing can be trickier. If you’re lacking in bum mojo, avoid tight fits and VPLs.

“Rounded, curvy bottoms need skirts and trousers that are either shaped with darts or some easing of the waist to accommodate your curves,” Henderson says.

“It’s more flattering if the fabric hangs from the fullest part of your bottom, rather than curving round and under.”

Avoid details on the bottom area, like pockets, if you don’t wish to draw attention to your behind.


The Holy Grail of the hourglass figure is a curvy, defined waist. You can magic one up if you’re short-waisted or straight-up-and-down, with clever block colour panels that resemble the Ambiguous Vase illusion. A monochrome palette works particularly well because it’s the starkest contrast.

“If you’re lacking a defined waist, straight or boxy clothes in crisp fabrics can add kilos,” Henderson warns.

“Tops or dresses cut with some shaping at the waist will create the illusion of some definition, thereby making you look slimmer.”


Whether you’re a dedicated trouser or skirt wearer, the key to longer, slimmer looking pins is the cut-off point. Always ensure your hemline finishes at the narrowest point of your leg. If you have pronounced calf muscles, for instance, avoid midi skirts that fall directly at their fullest.

Stripes can offer some supermodel trickery if worn in the right way. For ultimate leg lengthening powers, stick to skinny, vertical stripes.

“If you feel your legs are a little short, narrow leg trousers and pencil skirts will make you appear taller and therefore slimmer,” Henderson suggests.


Nobody wants to diminish their bust completely, but if you’re top heavy and not happy about it, rebalancing your proportions is simple.

Try colour blocking tactics, using plain black to minimise your bust and a lighter shade directly underneath. Draping necklines are also flattering on a fuller bust.

“The ideal dresses for curved bodies are those made from soft fabrics,” advises Henderson.

“If you find that you’re different sizes top and bottom, opt for separates, which offer great scope for co-ordinating colours.”


Serve up your new season wardrobe with a slimmer you. Follow image consultants Colour Me Beautiful’s advice for instant figure transformation - no diet necessary:

:: Straighter bodies need straighter constructions while curvier bodies need softer, shaped pieces.

:: The heavier the fabric, the more bulk it adds to your silhouette.

:: Good posture will naturally create straighter shoulders and a flatter tummy.

:: An interesting detail on sleeves can help detract the eye from an unflattering area.

:: Too-tight or baggy clothes can both add weight, so getting the right fit will help to create the appearance of a slimmer you.

:: Colour Me Slimmer by Colour Me Beautiful image consultants is published by Hamlyn, priced £12.99. Available now.